My dad worked as an unskilled laborer my whole childhood and was paid a living wage because it was a union job. I was able to go to a state university and get a good job as a teacher. It's easier to raise your children well if you make a living wage.
Poverty is what's wrong with America's schools. My students live in poverty. I have sad stories.
You know what's not poor? The way we feel about our students. Honestly, I think my co-workers are catty bitches, but they are competitive and proud. The teachers at my school care about their kids and care about teaching well. We want to do well, because we want our kids to learn.
I have no idea who these bad teachers are that everyone talks about. They don't work at my school. Oh sure, I've seen bad teachers. But they don't last. This job is too horrible to endure if you do it badly. Did you know that half of all teachers don't make it to their fifth year? It's an unforgiving profession. If you aren't good at it, you cry every night until you either get good or you quit.
Merit pay? You can't afford us.
There is a bill being considered in Missouri that would recall all teacher tenure. My union will fight it. Teachers will fight it. I doubt we do a proper job explaining why we think it's important. It's pretty clear to me that this is about money. This isn't about getting rid of bad teachers. This is about making it easier to cut positions. This is about making class size huge. It's about shortchanging your child of their American right to the best education in the world (challenge me on that one....I'm ready). It's about breaking American schools.
And pay attention to where the money is shifted to. Pay attention to who's getting it. They aren't building roads with it and they aren't giving it back to tax payers.